Converting Liters to Milliliters

Worked Volume Unit Conversion Example Problem

Doing volume conversions? It helps to remember there are 1000 milliliters in 1 liter.
Doing volume conversions? It helps to remember there are 1000 milliliters in 1 liter. Ryann Cooley, Getty Images

The method to convert liters to milliliters is demonstrated in this worked example problem. The liter and milliliter are both key units of volume in the metric system.

How Many Milliliters in a Liter?

The key to working a liter to milliliter problem (or vice versa) is to know the conversion factor. There are 1000 milliliters in each liter. Because this is a factor of 10, you don't actually have to break out the calculator to do this conversion.

You can simply move the decimal point. Move it three spaces to the right to convert liters into milliliters (e.g., 5.442 L = 5443 ml) or three spaces to the left to convert milliliters into liters (e.g., 45 ml = 0.045 L).

Problem

How many milliliters are in a 5.0-liter canister?

Solution

1 liter = 1000 mL

Set up the conversion so the desired unit will be cancelled out. In this case, we want mL to be the remaining unit.

Volume in mL = (Volume in L) x (1000 mL/1 L)

Volume in mL = 5.0 L x (1000 mL/1 L)

Volume in mL = 5000 mL

Answer

There are 5000 mL in a 5.0-liter canister.

Check your answer to make sure it makes sense. There are 1000x times more milliliters than liters, so the milliliter number should be much greater than the liter number. Also, since it's multiplication by a factor of 10, the value of the digits won't change. It's only a matter of decimal points!